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SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies
NLRB LOOKS TO PUT BRAKES ON ANTITRUST SUIT AGAINST NBA
Published August 1, 1995
The NLRB voted 5-0 yesterday "to seek a stay" of the class- action, antitrust lawsuit filed in Minneapolis federal court against the NBA by Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, and 14 other players, according to Mark Asher in today's WASHINGTON POST. The NLRB is "maintaing that the suit cannot go forward unless players vote to remove -- or decertify -- the union as their collective- bargaining representative." Asher: "The first hearing in the antitrust case is set for Sept. 6 in Minneapolis, and NLRB officials are not certain the decertification process will be completed by then." Jeffrey Kessler, lawyer for the players seeking decertification: "I think it's incorrect; I don't think the courts will accept it. I do not believe this action in any way will impede the progress of our antitrust case." NBA Senior VP Jeffrey Mishkin said the ruling "merely confirms that complex labor issues remain to be resolved and that misrepresentations were made to our players that antitrust litigation would be a quick-fix substitute for collective bargaining." NBPA Exec Dir Simon Gourdine: "That lawsuit involves the players against the NBA. This decision by the NLRB does not have much effect on the union per se" (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 8/1). WILLIAMS SAYS NEW DEAL IS CLOSE: According to a report by Kerry Eggers in today's Portland OREGONIAN, NBPA President Buck Williams "believes the union and league officials are a 'couple of meetings away' from a collective bargaining agreement that could help ward off the decertification movement." Williams: "It's a race against time. I'm very confident we can bring a revised agreement back to the players before the decertification vote takes place. It's something that can and will be done." According to Williams, another negotiating session between the union and league is tentatively scheduled for this Thursday or Friday (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/1).